South African Government Regulations and Policies for Registration of Early Childhood Development Centres

Staffing Requirements

According to the DSD regulations on day care facilities, staff members must be in the age range of 18-60 years old. Additionally, medical clearance is required for any staff member to be eligible to work in a childcare facility regardless of their position. The DSD requires all staff members to be trained and skilled in first aide.  It is required by social services that staff be “knowledgeable and respectful of culture of children.” There are ratios given by the Department of Social Services that require a teacher per number of children within an age group. For children 0-18 months there must be 1 teacher for every 6 children.

Below is the staff requirements section of the table from the Department of Social Development: Guidelines for Daycare.

Table 1: Staffing Requirements

Age 18-60, depends on health of person and context of centre. Combination of mature and younger persons.
Attributes and skills Patience, loving nature, high standard of cleanliness, ability to work in a team. Understanding of, and ability to work with, young children. Supervisor should have knowledge of administration, management skills and financial skills.
Health Staff appointed must be medically examined before being employed. Staff with infections, illness, must refrain from working with children and food (this does not necessarily mean termination of services).
Culture Knowledge and respect of culture of children.
Training and experience All staff should be completing or have completed a basic level training course from a recognized agency covering health, safety, nutrition, child development, administration skills including job description and crisis management. Supervisors/person in charge should have at least a standard 88 or equivalent (and have an understanding of working with adults). Staff development programs are important. In-service training is important.
Language Mother tongue of child. Knowledge of other languages in an area to introduce to the children.
Staff/child ratios
  • House ( mixed age groups) 1:6
  • House with additional structures on residential property, daycare centre or hall:

0-18 months  1:6

19 months – 3 years 1: 15

3 years 1 month – 6 years 1:25

After school centre 1 :35

Ratios assessed according space as laid out in the premises category of this document.



Facilities and General Accommodation Requirements

There are many logistics to consider when creating an ECD facility that meets South African registration requirements. Most of the requirements focus on the ratio of the number equipment with respect to the number of children being served.

First, there are requirements for bathroom facilities. There must be one toilette and one washbasin or sink for every 20 children.

Kitchens or areas used to prepare food must be separated by, at least, a partition if not in a separate room all together. Within the kitchen area there must be a way to boil water for sterilization and to cook food. It is suggested that the floors be washable or have a washable covering. There should also be safe storage for all necessary equipment.

Indoor and outdoor space requirements are mainly based on area per child. Indoors there must be 1.5 square metres per baby and 2 square metres for toddlers. Our group did not find any requirements for older preschool children for indoor play. For children of all age groups it is required that there is 1 square metre per child for outdoor play space. Outdoor play area must be created for the first 30 children and may be used by groups at different times to accommodate larger numbers of students.

There must be an area for children who are sick. This may be within a classroom but is suggested to be in an office if available.

In order to comply with the Department of Social Development, the many regulations above must be met. The section of the table given by the Department of Social Development: Guidelines for Daycare is seen below. To view the table in its entirety, see Appendix Table 1.


Table 2: Facility Requirements

Toilets The sanitation of the community in which the crèche is situated should be used as the standard. If running water is available flush toilets should be used. Use step-up and adapter seat if normal toilet. Toilets must be disinfected regularlyRatios:1 commode/pottie : 5 children

  • 1 toilet : 20 children

For Babies: bucket with lid for sterilizing and soaking nappies. The nappies must be washed daily and the bucket cleaned. There should be a place to change nappies. Separate facilities for washing of potties.

After School Facilities: separate facilities for boys and girls

Crèches must work towards:

  • Separate facilities for all boys and girls.
  • A potty per child.
  • A separate staff facility.
Washbasins 1 hand basin: 20 childrenUse step-ups if there are fixed washbasins. Water must be changed regularly. Soap and dry cloth must be available. The drying cloth must be changed daily and be accessible to the children. A plastic bucket/container (rather only 10 per bucket) may be used but no water must be left in it after use. Disinfectant should be used in the water. A way of waste disposal is needed – French drain.
Kitchen Separated from play area by at least a partition. No recommended size. No free access to children, but should be escorted when entering the kitchen. Must be kept clean, hygienic (light washable paint). Equipment should be stored in safe containers. Should be equipped with a table, sink, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery, cleaning materials. Some means of cooking food, approved refuse removal and cooling facilities. If using gas or paraffin it should be stored outside safely. Washable floor cover. Big enough for utensils and equipment. Not a storage place for toys etc. Separate space (not room) for preparation of baby food. Facilities to boil water for sterilization.
Indoor Space Indoor play area after cupboards and other furniture has been taken into account:

  • 2m2 per baby
  • 1.5m2 per toddler
Outdoor Space Outdoor play area:

  • 1m2 per child at least for the first 30 children. Children can then be divided into groups and taken outside one group at a time. Always under supervision.

No open fires in outdoor play area. Public parks may be used as long as it is safe for the children. If no outdoor space add 1m2 per child to the indoor space.


Office/staff/sickbay/isolation rooms A sickbay is a quiet space away from other children even in the same room. IF there is an office, the sickbay should be in the office. If possible a space for staff to rest should also be provided.

It was very difficult for our group to find consistent policies and regulations for crèches in Cape Town.